Char-Grilled or Grill-Charred?

Murphy's Law rears its ugly head again. "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

I think I have taken the term "char-grill" too literally. It was a beautiful evening so we decided to cook out on our new grill. Everything was going fine. I put the chicken leg quarters (nicely marinated) on the grill. I went into the house for less than 3 minutes and when I returned, the grill was in flames. There were flames flying everywhere. What should I do? I did my best not to panic. At first, I sprayed water at the problem. That only made the problem worse. Now I began frantically searching for baking soda. Fortunately, a friend came over, took some baking soda, and poured it over the chicken. There sat the chicken leg quarters covered with baking soda, and charred beyond recognition. The inside of the grill wasn't looking very good either.
 Hence, Char-Grill!

I know we cannot all be good at everything, but really, who isn't good at grilling? How could I have botched things up this badly (and in such a short amount of time)? Apparently, I had left too much fat on the leg quarter. It was a real shame too because I had made a killer marinade. No pun intended, but it was upsetting to see all that hard work go up in smoke. I find it odd that the only appliance I seem to have difficulty with is the grill. I ran it for the recommended 20 minutes on high so all the excess food burns off. I use the grill brush to remove anything that did not burn off. I empty and clean the drip pan. I have noticed it is difficult to clean the drip tray, which funnels all the grease into the drip pan. There is not enough room. I tore my hand up trying to clean it. I went in from the back of the grill because I did not see any other way to access it. If anyone knows of a tool that would be thin enough to clean the drip tray, I would appreciate the information.

Since this is the second time I have had a grill flare up on me, I have determined it is time for me to step away from the grill. The first time was over 20 years ago and I only owned it for 3 days. It was a Sunbeam. The hose was writhing around like a snake, shooting flames everywhere. The heat was so intense it burned a hole in the bottom of the grill. The fire department took more than 45 minutes to get there and we only lived 1/4 mile from the fire station. That is not counting the time my daughter spent on hold with 911. Whenever anyone from the community talks about the fire department, they say, "They haven't lost a basement, yet."

After more thought, I guess this grill really didn't have a chance. I have now put a fire extinguisher within reach of the grill. I am not planning on any more mishaps, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Virginia Hermes

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